When occupancy rates decline at a luxury hotel, it often signifies to the owners that they may want to consider making major renovations.
The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham is planning to undertake several makeovers, but falling occupancy rates have nothing to do with the decision; The Townsend is coming off one of its best years in recent memory. Food and beverage sales are rising, and the occupancy rate is north of 70 percent. “We’re seeing more corporate travel from Chinese and Korean businesses, the auto industry has been trending upward (since 2009), and our meeting and convention business is strong,” says Tracy A. Fashing, director of sales and marketing at The Townsend. “We had to put off some of our renovation plans because we’ve been so busy, but we can’t wait any longer.”
Since business is picking up across the board in Birmingham — several new restaurants have opened in downtown Birmingham in recent months, including Bella Piatti, Social Kitchen & Bar, Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse, Churchill’s Bistro & Cigar Bar, and What Crepe? — Fashing doesn’t want to stand idle. In addition, the 150-room Townsend Hotel will renovate eight luxury rooms — a mix of Presidential and Executive suites, along with two penthouses — “from carpet to wallpaper to draperies to furniture,” Fashing says.
The Rugby Grille, meanwhile, which has hosted global CEOs, royalty, and entertainers, will get a complete makeover. The interior portion of the 44-seat restaurant is scheduled to close for a six-week renovation starting Feb. 15.
The lobby was updated, along with all of the guest rooms (save for the suites). “We’re looking at expanding our catering offerings by better maximizing our banquet kitchen,” Fashing adds. “We keep enhancing our brand, and that continues to pay dividends.”db — R.J. King